30 Wind Turbines with blade tip heights up to 185 metres will soon dominate much of the South Offaly landscape.
THIRTY giant wind turbines will be constructed in South Offaly during the coming months, which will mean a massive change for the landscape of the region.
Statkraft is due to construct Cloghan Wind Farm which will entail the building of nine turbines. The Farm will be located in the townlands of Galross, Glenwood, Coraknock Glebe, Derreen, Cortullagh and Magherabane. The nine turbines will have the potential output of 34MW of electricity, which will have the capacity to power about 27,000 homes. The turbines will be up to 169 metres in height.
Statkraft says there will be “benefit funds” available to local communities. “We believe,” says Statkraft, “that local communities should play a major role in determining how these funds should be used to maximise the benefit in the local area.”
21 turbines will also be constructed in Derrinlough on the Birr-Cloghan Road. Bord na Mona was granted planning permission for the Farm in August 2021. The proposed wind farm covers 34.2 hectares across a number of townlands. The turbines will have an overall blade tip height of 185 metres.
Bord na Mona says the construction work at Derrinlough will take 24 to 30 months. It's estimated that up to 120 construction jobs will be created. Derrinlough wind farm will be capable of producing electricity to power 68,000 homes.
Offaly County Council will benefit from both these developments because they will be paid annual rates.
Bord na Mona says its farm will provide a significant economic benefit to the communities surrounding it.
Speaking to The Midland Tribune, Cllr John Leahy said the electricity produced by the two wind farms will power 95,000 homes in the midlands region.
He said the Community Gain Fund will come into operation once the turbines begin to turn. He said the Gain Fund could be worth a couple of million Euros to local communities over a few years. Groups will be able to submit applications for their various projects.
Encapsulated in the Community Gain Fund will be a Near Neighbour Fund, which will offer electricity bill payers living within a prescribed distance of the turbines an annual discount on their electricity bills.
Bord na Mona will also allow the public to use the roads in the wind farm for walking, running and cycling.
Cllr Leahy said no more provision has been made in the County Development Plan for wind turbines. The Plan runs until 2027. Therefore, between now and 2027, after the current projects are completed, there will be no more wind turbines permitted in Offaly.
Cllr Leahy pointed out that 40% of Ireland's electricity is being produced by renewable energy. It's planned to increase that figure to 70% by 2030. The councillor said there's a strong case to be made for reducing the electricity bills of everyone based on the high amount of renewable energy which the country is producing.
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